"A good meal is like a present, and it can feel goofy, at best, to give yourself a present. On the other hand, there is something life affirming in taking the trouble to feed yourself well, or even decently. Cooking for yourself allows you to be strange or decadent or both. The chances of you liking what you made are high, but if it winds up being disgusting, you can always throw it away and order a pizza; no one will ever know." (Jenni Ferrari-Adler)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bechamel Sauce Q&A

"Anonymous said... This looks amazingly good! I was wondering for the bechamel sauce, can you do it with rice milk?" 

Dear Anonymous,
I had never thought about attempting to make dairy free  Bechamel Sauce. However you got me thinking and here is what i found out :

Technically speaking you can use Rice/ Soy or Almond milk as a replacement in any White Sauce (sauce blanche/ bechamel). However do not expect it to taste the same.  Also the amount of flour used will vary and if you use wheat flour or any other low gluten flour in your roux this will interfere with the thickening process, and you may not obtain the consistency desired. 

Here is a recipe by mrwrigglesworth on www.grouprecipes.com

Simple Vegan White Sauce
1tbsp of dairy free margarine
1tbsp of plain flour
300ml of rice milk (unsweetened)
1tsps of powder vegetable stock (I would use salt and pepper)

Melt margarine in a small pan on a medium heat.
Once melted, add sieved flour and mix until all flour looks like hard boiled egg yolk. This should happen almost immediately. If there is any loose flour don't worry about so long as most of it is mixed.Add rice milk into the pan slowly whilst whisking.
Once all milk is added, sprinkle over it the powdered vegetable stock and continue whisking.
Keep heating and whisking for 10 minutes. The above ingredients will produce a relatively thick sauce; if you want something thinner then continue adding more rice milk until you achieve the desired consistency.

(If you cannot find unsweetened rice milk at your local store here you can easily make your own.  Here is a recipe I have not tried it but it looks close to the recipe for soy and almond milk my aunt makes at home.)

However unless you are soy intolerant perhaps first consider soymilk as a replacement given its milk like consistency. Here is a recipe from Jeenas Kitchen. (definitely follow the link as she has step-by-step pictures documenting the entire process)

Vegan White Sauce (SOYMILK)
1 Tbsp Vegan margarine
1 + 1/2 Tbsp Plain flour
300ml Soya milk
pinch Salt
pinch Nutmeg
1 Bay leaf
Extra soya milk

Melt the margarine in a heavy based pan along with the flour, keep stirring for 2-3 minutes.
Pour in 100ml of soya milk keep stirring.
The milk and flour mixture will thicken up
When the white sauce thickens pour in another 100ml of milk, keep stirring.
Repeat the process then add the bay leaf, salt and nutmeg.Keep simmering and stirring.
Keep adding more milk until you reach the desired consistency.
Some recipes call for a thick white sauce, other recipes call for a more thin roux.
Once the 300ml of milk has been added, from then on only add a little milk at a time.
Remove the bay leaf after cooking.

Hope this helps :) Let us know how it turned out.
Bon Apetit!

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